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USD $1 ₱ 56.97 0.0000 April 17, 2024
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‘Bad Moms’ Struggles with Entitlement, but has Heart

The film does have some trouble in recognizing the entitlement of its characters, but in the end, it manages to be mostly funny while maintaining a seriously tender heart.

Bad Moms is about Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis), a thirty-two year-old woman crumbling under the pressures of being a mom. She's constantly running late as she tries to tend to her family, go to work, volunteer at school, and do everything that a mother is supposed to be doing. Following a particularly bad day, she just snaps. She tells off Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), the queen bee of the PTA. She decides that she's just going to start doing less. She becomes the antithesis of what is expected of the contemporary supermom. And with the help of some newfound friends, she takes on the tyranny of the PTA.

Even in 2016, Hollywood still doesn’t have many movies with a primarily female cast. And the films that do feature predominantly female leads aren’t often about mothers. On that count alone, Bad Moms already stands out. Moms generally aren’t the funny characters in any given movie, and it’s refreshing to see that happen. The film does have some trouble in recognizing the entitlement of its characters, but in the end, it manages to be mostly funny while maintaining a seriously tender heart.

The primary assertion of the film is that moms nowadays are expected to do too much. And it isn’t simply a matter of how difficult it is to balance a career and family. It actually concentrates more on the culture that surrounds being a mom within a school community. There is a pecking order at school, and moms are made to kowtow to a policies of a select few who get decide what’s best for everyone’s children. The film’s great insight is that nobody really knows what’s best for children. Moms are bombarded with new information every day about what they’re supposed to do to make sure their children turn out all right, and they drive themselves crazy trying to keep up.

It isn’t always easy to buy what the film is selling, mainly because the characters are all so privileged. At one point, Amy lectures her child on his entitlement issues, and it feels like the film is blind to the entitlement of its own main characters, who are all white and don’t really seem to struggle with money. Given that, the film is still pretty funny. It starts out with just having these women behave badly, but later it finds better footing in simply allowing them to give voice to their frustrations. There is a scene in the middle where the women try to one-up each other telling stories of the worst things that their children have done. As the stories get more absurd, the more the film actually seems to reflect the complex heart of any parental relationship.

Mila Kunis, as the protagonist, is kind of stuck with the blandest role. She’s fine enough in it, but she’s shown an ability to roll with much funnier characters, and it’s kind of a shame that she isn’t really able to let loose her. She is ultimately upstaged by her supporting cast, particularly the incredible Kathryn Hahn. Hahn steals every scene she’s in, and it kind of feels like this movie should really be more about her. Kristen Bell also draws attention with her very specific approach to a stock character. And Christina Applegate never fails to be anything less than wonderful, even when the role is written a tad too broadly.


Bad Moms doesn’t have the transgressive sensibilities it really needs to live up to its own potential. It isn’t able to detach itself from what really feel like first world problems, blunting the message in the end. Having said that, its call for reason and empathy in mom culture is a worthy subject, and the film gets to be pretty funny along the way. Pair that with great performances, and the film becomes a surprisingly appealing little film.

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